Futures Winner Gives ‘Voice’ to Car Safety

NEW YORK New York’s High School for Arts and Business won the fourth-annual Advertising Futures Student Presentation competition at this year’s Advertising Week industry celebration. The winner was named here yesterday.

The school beat out 24 other student teams. Each team was asked to come up with a way to combat reckless driving among teens. They then partnered with an agency, in the winner’s case McCann Erickson, to brainstorm and conceive an ad.

The winning ad shows young people in a car. Those in the backseat are wearing mime makeup, mouths agape in horror at an impending crash. The tagline is, “Save your life, use your voice.”

The student team consisted of Darnell Finisterre, Desyre Valera Diego Valencia and Natalie Fernandes. Michael Cohen, their teacher, accompanied them to the competition.

Like any creative shootout where people are working from the same brief, several teams presented essentially the same idea. Two popular themes were mouths covered with zippers (or seat belts) and images from videogames.

Rick Boyko, managing director of the VCU Adcenter and host of the event, noted, “It’s good to learn what to do if someone uses a similar image.” Press on with your presentation anyway, he said.

The event, held at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, was judged by Mark Herlyn, vp, advertising, The New York Times; Erika Alonso, ecd, AOL; Mike Donahue, evp, American Association of Advertising Agencies; Patricia Natkins, evp, campaign management, Ad Council; as well as Boyko.

After announcing the winner, Boyko said that the High School for Arts and Business prevailed based on “the simplicity of the visual. You don’t need words for it. They’re [young people] the ones who understand the messaging.”